With no Republicans jumping on board and the Democrats firmly in the minority, that bills never going to make it out of committee, and sure as hell won't find itself on the floor. Indeed, the bill is basically dead until its sponsors -- Kerry and Clinton -- run for president in 2008.
Why the bill hasn't attracted any Republican cosponsors is, however, an interesting question. Nothing so self-evidently popular can be ignored by politicians lest they find themselves similarly shunned by voters. So Republicans have created a counter-bill which, under the guise of tamping down on fraud, makes it harder for people to vote. Brilliant. Now the press can satisfy itself by reprinting quotes promoting the legislation of each side and belittling the proposals of the other side, Americans can assume that it's just more partisan food-fighting, and meaningful electoral reform can be totally ignored. So the answer, Julie, is through a manipulation of representative democracy, a mastery of congressional maneuvering, and a compliant press corps. Makes you proud to be an American, no?
Which seems to me to all be fundamentally correct, and even par for the course with republicans. And as Ezra shrewdly sees, the republican strategy will be to make the argument over electoral reform seem like run-of-the-mill partisan bickering.
Isn't it an awesome irony that republicans can turn the fundamental, defining feature of a Democratic society into a partisan wedge issue? That you could have millions of republicans out there coming down against making American elections fairer, and hating Democrats for talking about it?
Moreover, it seems to me, given that the bill's sponsors include Kerry and Clinton, two of the more hated Democrats, the republicans actually have a perfect storm set up for them. I can't wait for Rush Limbaugh to start saying, "You'll never guess what John Kerry and Hillary Clinton want to do today, my friends. They want to count every vote."
Let me merely say if there was ever an issue that the Democratic party should devote a lot of time, energy, and money to, it's this one. They probably won't, which is very sad indeed.